Laurie

HERE ARE MY TIPS TO HELP YOU UNDERSTAND:

1. Even if what the person is saying doesn’t make sense, don’t ignore it. Clarify what they mean, then answer.

2. Do not lessen the experience of the person living with Alzheimer’s. It can be annoying to hear, “I’m forgetting some things too.”

3. If the person can’t find his words, find other ways to communicate.

4. Enjoy the relationships you have by continuing to participate in your favourite activities with your friends and family.

5. Join a support group. It will help you share your burden with others.

I have vascular/mixed dementia. When I first got my diagnosis, it was like a piano had fallen out of the sky and landed on my head. It was apparent that my life was going to change.

And change it did – everything from work habits to friendships to my relationship with my partner, Johanna. But while there have been plenty of challenges, Johanna and I have managed to adjust to the changes and be better for it.

For example, I recently moved to a care home. I didn’t like it at first and I hid myself away. But I soon realized that Johanna and I can now have a different and better relationship. When I was living at home, she was my caregiver. Now when I go back to our home, we can enjoy a friendship – we cook together and visit friends at our regular Friday night get together.

I have a gift for language and poetry, and I taught creative writing at my local university. While I can no longer write the way I used to, this gift helps me to illuminate my experiences. I can still share stories with my Alzheimer Society support group , where I have rich relationships because we all share something basic. At the group, we can shoulder each other’s burdens.

My heart remains open.

HERE ARE MY TIPS TO HELP YOU UNDERSTAND:

1. Even if what the person is saying doesn’t make sense, don’t ignore it. Clarify what they mean, then answer.

2. Do not lessen the experience of the person living with Alzheimer’s. It can be annoying to hear, “I’m forgetting some things too.”

3. If the person can’t find his words, find other ways to communicate.

4. Enjoy the relationships you have by continuing to participate in your favourite activities with your friends and family.

5. Join a support group. It will help you share your burden with others.

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